Everybody’s a culinary wizard these days: from Two Fat Ladies to The Hairy Bikers, chefs have us trying to turn every meal into a masterpiece. Unfortunately most of cooking is boring: all that chopping and grating, slicing and sauteing. Hurrah, then, for the food mixer - or the food processor, as we call the ones with more functions than a Swiss Army Knife.
The best food mixer or food processor takes the drudgery out of cooking so you can concentrate on showing off on social media.
The best food mixer for you depends on what it is you want to do. If you fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry then a stand mixer might be a better option, but if you just want to whizz some fruit or veg around then a cheap food processor will be ideal.
For more adventurous cooks food processors offer all kinds of features and attachments for all kinds of tasks. Just make sure they’re machine washable: cleaning up afterwards is the bit of cooking we hate the most.
The best food processor will fit with your life, won’t dominate your kitchen and will make your culinary creations much easier. These are are favourite food processors for every kitchen and budget.
Our pick of the top food processors to buy today
1. Thermomix TM5
Best for everything
Power: 500W | Capacity: 2.2L | Cooks: Yes | Size: H33.5 x W33.3 x D32.6cm | Material: Plastic/Steel
The Thermomix isn’t so much a food processor as a religion: owners talk about it in awed tones, and would rather lose a limb than lose their Thermomix. It’s an odd-looking thing that does absolutely everything. It has scales, of the weighing kind. It warms, heats, cooks, steams and sautés. It chops, blends, kneads, grinds and grates. It whips. It mixes. It has a touchscreen that tells you what to do. It walks your dog and picks up the kids from school. Okay, maybe not those last two. It’s hilariously expensive and a little forbidding - if you want the price you need to book a demo - but if you’re serious about cooking Thermomix is the kind of cult you’ll be glad you joined.
2. Kenwood Multi-Pro Classic FDM790
Power: 1000W | Capacity: 3L | Cooks: No | Size: 21.3 x 38.7 x 21.9 cm | Material: Plastic/Glass
Kenwood makes kitchen appliances for every sector of the market, from cheap and cheerful blenders to state-of-the-art digital food processors. The Multi-Pro is one of its most successful models, and with good reason: you get a lot of features for just under £200. The main bowl is 3L, there’s a 0.5L bowl for small jobs and there’s a Thermoresist 1.5L glass blender for hot or frozen ingredients, and there’s a built-in weighing system as well as a separate weighing tray. The rotary dial gives you variable speed and pulse programmes, and the various blades enable you to slice, puree, blend, grate, knead, chop and whisk pretty much anything. If you’re a keen breadmaker you’ll probably be better off with a stand mixer, but if you want a food processor that can turn its hand to almost anything the Kenwood is good value for money and built to last.
3. Kenwood FPP225
Best for tight budgets
Power: 750W | Capacity: 2.1L | Cooks: No | Size: 19 x 19 x 32 cm | Material: Plastic/Glass
The FP225 is an excellent all-rounder and good value for money, especially at Amazon’s price for the silver model: while the white FPP220 is £55, the silver FP225 is £39.99. There’s a 2.1L bowl and a 1.2L glass liquidiser, a coarse shredding and slicing disc and an emulsifying tool, knife blade and spatula. It’s smaller than many processors - and unlike larger Kenwoods, doesn’t come with so many extra bits that you need a second kitchen to store them all - so it’s really best suited to individuals and couples rather than big families, but it’s great for soups, smoothies, dips, desserts, veg and sauces. It can even do meat, albeit via an optional attachment. The motor’s 750W and the rotary speed dial also includes the all-important Pulse feature.
4. Magimix Patissier Multifunction
Best for bakers
Power: 1500W | Capacity: 4.9L | Cooks: No | Size: H37.8 x W31.4 x D27.6 cm | Material: Steel
The Patissier is designed to deliver the best of both worlds: the flexibility of a food processor and the baking brilliance of a stand mixer. To do that it offers standard food processor bowls alongside an enormous 4.9 litre Patisserie bowl, which can whisk up to 12 egg whites or knead up to 1.6kg of dough. Between the various bowls that means you can bake as well as create soups, smoothies, sauces and all the other things you’d do in a traditional food processor.
It’s on the pricey side but you are replacing two different devices with one, and users seem happy that there doesn’t appear to be a compromise: the Multifunction is a really good food processor that turns into a really good stand mixer.
5. Cuisinart Mini
Best for small kitchens
Power: 900W | Capacity: 0.6L | Cooks: No | Size: H16 x D12 x W20 | Material: Plastic
Sitting just 16cm high and 20cm wide, this Cuisinart is a little wonder. It chops, purees and grinds effortlessly, and while the 900W motor isn’t as powerful as bigger processors the dual-blade system copes admirably with chopping tough veg and grinding nuts or coffee. The bowl has a reasonable 600ml capacity and it’s easy to clean, and while it’s too small for larger families’ cooking it’s ideal if you’re short of space or hate the effort of using (and cleaning) a larger processor for small quantities. It’s not the sort of thing you’d use to grind up the remains of your enemies or test the build quality of a smartphone, but it’s quite happy with hummus and copes just fine with coffee beans.